Sunday, 7 July 2013

Rise Up

There are only three things in the world that I hate, and one of them is this piece of news.

Even with a degree in politics (and philosophy, but the less said about that the better), I only feel comfortable taking a strong political stance when the question seems mind-numbingly obvious. Questions like: Should MPs get a pay rise? There's a head-scratcher; should MPs, who have consistently proven themselves to be untrustworthy and incompetent, have their pay raised above £70,000 during the most savage spending cuts we've ever seen? Wait, let me get my calculator and a pot of coffee, this one's going to take quite some FUCK OFF.

In the background of all this is of course the expenses scandal, from John Prescott using taxpayer's money to repair his toilet seat twice, to John Prescott spending £4,800 a year on food at public expense. As a result, the task of deciding how much MPs should be paid has been handed to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which means that our elected representatives can have their taxpayer-funded cake and eat it too; MPs can go to the press or that bastion of democratic debate Question Time, and announce that they abhor the prospect of a pay rise, while conceding that they have no power over the decision so would have no choice but to reluctantly accept the pay rise anyway. They can score electoral points with their rhetoric, while holding a giant novelty cheque obnoxiously behind their back. It's win-win.

It's a complete false dichotomy that our MPs are to either abuse a system of parliamentary expenses or have a pay rise. As is the idea that without increased pay, they'll have no choice but to take on other jobs and business interests. Here's a novel idea: Pay them the same as other public servants, don't let them have any other employment and don't let them fiddle expenses. You know, like a normal fucking job. 

To be fair to MPs, they probably don't all sit on their arse all day. Unlike, oh I dunno, the Queen, who was recently given a 5% pay rise for doing fuck nothing and making that face. I don't think all MPs are crooks, and I'm sure some of them are genuinely there to make things better for people, such as... well I can't think of any now you put me on the spot. I do, however, think that they're disproportionately wealthy, that they're weird and creepy and that, most importantly, they should be working for us and not the other way round. And if they really need a second home closer to Westminster? Two words: Capsule hotel. 

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